Great, big trigger warning.
“I don’t know how I can sleep at night knowing that he could be out there doing the same thing to someone else – tonight or ten years from now – and I’m not doing a god damn thing.”
Those were my exact words a minute ago, when a friend asked me what was on my mind.
I have done nothing as far as results go.
Did I stop him while he was doing it? No. I went along with it because I was afraid and bewildered and too scared of being “wrong” to take any strong action or do anything except be along for the ride and let the chips fall. I could have done so many things differently…provoked him until he hurt me to the point where I’d have Real Evidence, allowed or encouraged him to go through with his plans of suicide. Two things I can’t do anymore without myself getting in trouble for stalking or harassment. What a funny world it is.
Did I report him to the school? Well, yes. And that got him expelled from a school that he wasn’t planning to return to in the first place, and from which he was already academically suspended anyway. I also happened to report after he’d raped the Other Girl, which was the exact event I’d been trying to prevent.
Did I go to the police? Yes. And they never felt the need to follow up, because I guess my story was just not compelling enough, because I didn’t fight Enough, didn’t escalate it Enough, and the thought of my own weakness makes me sick when I realize that. I was raped, but I was not Raped Enough, and that makes all the difference.
And so while he continues thinking he’s done nothing wrong, keeps being more attractive than average and alluringly misunderstood and wealthy and free to do whatever he wants, keeps searching for more victims, I am sitting here in soft pink pajamas on a clean memory foam mattress with cuddly stuffed animals and a stained-glass lamp happily spreading colors on the walls. For all I know, his fingernails could be scraping the cervix of another frightened girl while I’m curled up under flannel sheets and dozing off to thoughts of what my work schedule is tomorrow and how to work through that last partial fraction decomposition problem.
How can I sleep at night?
How can I live with myself during the day?